Don’t be too sad or too mad. Yes, we know it hurts. But the bad review can actually be a good thing (provided, of course, that it’s legitimately written). It can actually help you do business better. That’s why it’s so important to keep your emotions in check: so that you can read as objectively and carefully as possible whatever your customer posted. Only then will you be able to analyze the review and identify the things that can help improve (instead of hurt) your online reputation and business performance.
Problem employees: Most of the time, negative online reviews of local businesses have very little to do with the actual product – or whatever was purchased. Instead the reviews talk about employees, staff members, or salespeople who’ve been called out by the customer for one reason or another. Unfriendly service. Rude manners. Inattentiveness. Lack of training.
If you’re reading a negative review, keep an eye out to see if an important employee/ human resources issue has been raised. Then investigate the issue and, if valid, work to get it resolved ASAP.
Operational problems: Bad reviews can help you identify operational policies or supply chain practices that need to be changed. More importantly, they help you become more honest about what you can do to improve.
(Check out: “7 Smart Tips for Managing Online Reputation”)
That’s why you can’t have a knee-jerk reaction to a review and ignore the things the reviewer is trying to say. If, for example, a customer mentions something about your restaurant’s bar list being too limited, then maybe it really is time to add a few more wines and cocktails and shooters to your list. Or if a guest is complaining about your hotel’s dirty swimming pool, maybe it’s because the pool really is dirty. And that you should revise your maintenance procedures. Or use better chemicals.
Competition: Sometimes a bad review will bring up what the competition is doing right – and what you’re doing wrong. Well, that’s good for you! These insights would be very difficult to obtain otherwise. At the same time, the review gives you a unique opportunity to benchmark yourself and find new ways to gain competitive advantage.
Wrong local data: Customers don’t like to be misled by wrong information, and they don’t like to be given false promises. That’s why you have to read and analyze your bad reviews: they may point out some business errors and inaccuracies that you may have overlooked. Even simple things, like number of parking slots, is there free Wi-Fi available, your hours of operation, etc. Double-check everything you’ve published about your business online – and ensure that the local data is always complete, correct, and up-to-date.